Ready for the Oven

Bread Close-Up

My name is Elizabeth, and I am a cookbookaholic. And a heat resistant spatulaholic. And a cake panaholic. And I know I’m not alone. You know who you are. Your Amazon¬†‘Wish List’¬†is full of the latest from Dorie Greenspan and David Lebovitz. In my quest to build the perfect cookbook collection, I recently came across Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells. Given my penchant for the sale rack and cookbooks, I couldn’t pass it up.

Tomato-Quinoa Bread

Whenever I get a new cookbook, I bring it home, snuggle down on the sofa with the blanket my mom made me when I was just a little kid, and go through it page by page. I mark the recipes I want to try with little sticky notes, and I scheme about when I can fit all these new recipes into the next week. It’s my version of a bubblebath.


I was nearing the end of Vegetable Harvest (and countless sticky notes later) when I came across the recipe for tomato-quinoa bread. The headnote mentioned that the bread was particularly delicious as a BLT. The rest of the cookbook was going to have to wait. I made haste to the kitchen to start baking. I’ll spare you from what could be my endless prose on how supremely delicious this bread is and just say that I’ve made this several times now. It does indeed make the perfect BLT, and I’m still not sure what recipes come after this one in Ms. Wells’ book. Perhaps when BLT season has passed, I will venture through to the end.


Tomato-Quinoa Bread
Excerpted from Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells

Equipment: A heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with a dough hook; a pastry scraper; a nonstick 1-quart rectangular bread pan; a razor blade or a sharp knife; an instant-read thermometer

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 cup seasoned vegetable juice – such as V8
1/2 cup quinoa
About 3 3/4 (1 pound) bread flour

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, and lukewarm water and mix to blend. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oil, salt, juice, and quinoa.
2. Add the flour a bit at a time, mixing at medium-low speed until most of the flour has been absorbed and the dough forms a ball. Continue to mix at medium-low speed until soft and satiny but still firm, 4-5 minutes, adding flour to keep the dough from sticking.
3. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Let the dough rise in the refrigerator until doubled or tripled in bulk, 8 to 12 hours. (The dough can be kept for two days in the refrigerator. Simply punch it down as it doubles or triples.)
4. At least 40 minutes before baking the bread, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Punch down the down and form it into a ball again. Cover the bowl securely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
6. Punch down the dough again. Form the dough into a tight rectangle. Place the dough in a nonstick 1-quart rectangular bread pan. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
7. With a razor blade or sharp knife, slash the top of the dough several times so it can expand regularly during baking. Place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Place the bread pan in the center of the rack. Bake until the crust is firm and golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 45 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer plunged into the center of the bread reads 200 degrees F. Remove the pan from the oven. Turn the loaf out and place it on a rack to cool. Do not slice the bread for at least 1 hour, for it will continue to bake as it cools. The bread can be stored for up to three days, tightly wrapped in plastic. Serve in very thin slices.
*179 calories per slice, 2 g fat, 6 grams protein, 34 g carbohydrates